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Voddler's streaming technology, VoddlerNet
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About VoddlerNet

For most of the films that we show on Voddler, we stream them to you using VoddlerNet, our own patented streaming technology.

VoddlerNet - the short description
In very practical terms, this means that when you watch a movie on Voddler, the film doesn’t come streaming directly from our video servers. Instead it comes from the nearest other Voddler customers who have already seen the movie.  It also means that when you have watched the film, parts of it stays on your computer for a little while, being redistributed to other Voddler customers.

This decentralized way of distributing movies - which in some ways is similar to a "peering system", where you get data from others, your peers, and then share it onwards – keeps costs down for us and also makes it more efficient to stream to you. This allows us, for example, to show you ad-funded movies with no more than a few minutes of ads before the feature film.

At the same time, VoddlerNet differs fundamentally from traditional peer-to-peer solutions in that content owners have full central control in VodlerNet over which content is available to which users and under what times. (More about this below.)

For the VoddlerNet-solution to work, we ask you to download a program when you watch your first film on Voddler (the download is approximately 4MB), and to let us use part of your hard drive to cache parts of a movie (never the whole movie) that you are viewing and then distributing it onwards.

VoddlerNet - the detailed description
In more technical terms, VoddlerNet is a decentralized overlaying network, that brings content storage and content distribution closer to the end user. Each computer that has VoddlerNet installed and is connected to the network works like a small edge server. In effect, it becomes part of a huge virtual distributed hard drive AND streaming server.

Distribution of new content in VoddlerNet – e.g this week’s movie release – is started at a cetnral publication server that Voddler hosts. The server splits up the new content into smaller pieces and works out an efficient initial distribution plan.

The role and function of the central server is one of the key differences between VoddlerNet and a standard peering system. Whereas standard peering solutions don't know which data is where in the network, VoddlerNet maintains full control of which data slices - or movies - that are in VoddlerNet and how long they are supposed to be active in VoddlerNet. Every slice is also fully encrypted and DRM-protected.

VoddlerNet thus combines both a decentralized distribution setup, with a centralized content control.

And given this, VoddlerNet becomes the foundation for dynamic content distribution. For instance, when a client node - a Voddler-installation on someone's computer - has been idle for some time, it will check how much of its Voddler hard drive space is free or how much of it contains old or less popular content that can be overwritten. If the client feels it can use some of its space to store new content (it compares the available space with its own threshold value and makes a decision), it requests “push” of new content from the server. It sends its decision to the server, telling it how much space can be used, and the server checks for suitable new content pieces waiting to be distributed which will be transferred to the client.

If the server decides that it is necessary (probably due to limited time) it initiate the distribution of the content by deciding which client nodes should participate. The server then sends (“pushes”) out the pieces to selected clients.

When a client node has received a piece of the content it will store them in the Voddler space on their hard drives. For each piece of the content object there should now be at least one client storing it in every geographical area. Then the fun begins: people watch the movie, and every viewing means that it is streamed (“pulled”) to a new client. Over time, VoddlerNet will contain more and more copies of the movie, so that the next viewing will start a little faster.

What this means is that the more people watch movies on Voddler, the better the experience and the more efficient the distribution. Quite the opposite from traditional streaming services. :-)

Managing VoddlerNet on your computer: Turning it on and off
When you have installed VoddlerNet on your computer, the default value is that VoddlerNet turns on automatically whenever you start your computer

You can easily turn it off if you want to, for instance if you are on a slow Internet connection and don't want anything else using your bandwidth.

To start/stop VoddlerNet